Microsoft (previous CloudAve coverage) today unveiled the new Office software with emphasis on Windows 8, Cloud and Social. They have built the new version of Office to take advantage of Windows 8 UI to offer touch and ink based gestures. The other interesting part was the Yammer integration with Sharepoint and Microsoft Dynamics.
“We are taking bold steps at Microsoft,” Ballmer said at the press conference in San Francisco. “The new, modern Office will deliver unparalleled productivity and flexibility for both consumers and business customers. It is a cloud service and will fully light-up when paired with Windows 8.”
Today’s Microsoft announcement was completely masked by breaking news stories like Marrisa Mayer’s appointment as CEO of Yahoo and potential cloud spinoff from VMware. Even though it is more exciting to know that CloudFoundry might come out of VMware in the spinoff (regular watchers will know that I have been calling VMware as that tiny little PaaS startup because of the potential I see with CloudFoundry), I wanted to take my time to offer some quick thoughts on Microsoft announcement today. In short, Microsoft doesn’t get it.
I am extremely disappointed with Microsoft today for the following reasons:
- As I told Alex Williams of TechCrunch, this is Microsoft telling the world that Modern Office is old way of doing things on a tablet. This message could have resonated well if they had released the Surface tablet and this Office software before iPad was released. But iPad and the subsequent availability of Android tablets has completely shifted people thinking about the future of work. The future of work is not doing it the old way with newer device but it is the processes getting morphed to fit into newer form factors which might include the Google glasses of tomorrow.
- Microsoft talking about cloud and giving a wonderful user experience on Windows 8 clearly highlight that they haven’t got cloud applications right. In my opinion, Google is doing cloud applications right (*today*) over Microsoft because they try to give the same experience across all devices, all operating systems and all browsers. Microsoft, by pinning their bets on Windows platform, is doing it wrong again. I strongly suggest reading this position paper on enterprise cloud applications and it applies equally well for consumer apps too.
- I like the three screen strategy showcased by Microsoft today but I feel that the future of work will go away from expensive hardware and into many different form factors. I don’t see Microsoft getting the trend yet.
- There is a thin line between rich user experience and bloatware. I hope Microsoft doesn’t cross this line with the announcement. I am a bit ambiguous here and not saying it one way or another because I haven’t yet checked out the experience yet.
- Software + Service strategy is dead. Period.
- With BYOD adding diversity in the workplace, Microsoft’s dedicated Windows vision is flawed. Period.
Anyhow these are some quick thoughts I had seeing the announcement today. I hope I am wrong and Microsoft gets it right. But knowing how Microsoft is known to screw up some great ideas during execution phase, I am doubtful.